Jett Charles is spending his November and December the same way that thousands of other Year 12s around the country are: taking a well-earned break to celebrate a massive year, while trying not to sweat about his ATAR.
But between some family and friend time (and a healthy dose of Queensland sunshine with some school mates), he’ll still have his mind on what he hopes is the next step of his education and career journey – studying at Swinburne next year.
Jett lives in Mildura, and just completed his studies at Mildura Senior College. Within his school is a Clontarf Academy — one of more than 100 in schools across Australia — that support the learning and personal growth of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.
“The Clontarf Academy gives me a safe space to go to while at school, if I need a break or to have a chat with our leaders,” Jett says.
“They also assist us in getting to school and engaging with the community, and also with getting through school and preparing us for our next steps after school, whether that be further education or work.”
Jett says his favourite part of the Academy was the end of term trips where students get a range of different community, education and work experiences. A recent trip to Melbourne included visiting Swinburne, getting a peek behind the scenes at Bunnings Warehouse headquarters, and an AFL game between the Melbourne Demons and the Brisbane Lions at the MCG.
The visits to Swinburne’s Hawthorn and Wantirna campuses were especially valuable.
“I hadn’t really been considering which universities to study at for that long, but after the multiple meetings I’ve had with Swinburne, I’ve felt welcomed and supported to both get through my schooling and pursue my interests,” he says.
“Ongoing supports such as the Moondani Toombadool Centre are also something that I think were important when preferencing Swinburne.”
Like many aspiring lawyers, television provided Jett the initial inspiration for a potential career in law, specifically the American drama series Suits. As a keen footy player and basketballer, he’s also got an eye on sports management.
“I have aspirations of becoming a lawyer in the Indigenous affairs area to give better access and outcomes to my people,” he says.
“I also enjoy looking at real businesses and how they’re managed and operated. I want to use my business/management skills in the sporting field, which is a big part of my life too.”
Jett was very grateful to physically attend school more regularly this year, after disruptions from COVID made social connection tough in 2021. He also fractured his wrist earlier in the year, impacting his ability to write in Term 2. But after overcoming some hardship, now he’s able to focus on his future.
“Honestly, I did find it quite difficult when deciding what I want to do next year considering university is such a big commitment in terms of time and also cost,” he says.
“However, as the year has progressed, and through work experience opportunities, I decided on the Law/Business route, mainly due to the enjoyment I have gotten out of them and the vast career opportunities and workplaces I can experience upon completing these degrees.”
A hard-earned summer of sunshine (and shifts at Bunnings) awaits Jett. And, pending first round offers, hopefully something even brighter at Swinburne in 2023.